Which can mean only one thing:
Time to make some soup, y'all.
My run on Sunday (last 20-miler of the year!) started freakishly late - it was almost 6:30 by the time I finally got to Red Rock. That's like, lunchtime. But the cooler weather means the sun is no longer my enemy and I even left the headlamp in the car. Of course, I also forgot the sunscreen (what is this strange warm light hitting my shoulders?) which resulted in a gnarly bit of burning, but you can't win 'em all. By the time I got home, I was a toasty little critter but happily not overheated.
Back to the soup.
That night, I knew I needed a good recovery food that was high in good carbs, had some healthy greens and protein in it, as well as something higher in sodium to replace the electrolytes lost during my run. Because of my sensitive stomach issues post-run, the less chewing, the better. Soup seemed like the best option. Plus, I was staring down the barrel of my last and final week of hard training before Chicago: an 8 miler plus boot camp on Monday, 7 miles of speed work on Tuesday, Hill Day on Wednesday, and finally, an easy 8 on Thursday. If there's one thing I've learned through all of this, it's the better and cleaner your diet, the faster you'll recover.
So I broke out the soup cauldron and started sharpening my knives.
Brian had gotten me a copy of "No Meat Athlete" by Matt Frazier for my birthday, not knowing I follow him on Facebook and adore his website of the same name. The book starts with a great description of what plant-based eating is all about then follows with tons of recipes that are totally doable, even for the most basic chef. I like the fact that Matt is an athlete with similar goals, not to mention quotes and cites multiple sources that I've either read or researched. (Hi Scott Jurek!) Plus, he's not trying to recreate meat dishes, which is a pet peeve of mine. I don't want to eat a bunch of fake meat alternatives or inhale a bunch of soy sausage. He lets the veggies and legumes shine, which I appreciate. "No Meat Athlete" is a great book even for non-plant based eaters and/or non runners. It's just good, healthy food (with a convenient training guide in the back, in the event the spirit moves you to lace up your sneakers). It's one that will be in my kitchen for a long time to come. Happy to report, I've already christened it with some errant tomato sauce. Amen!
Sunday night seemed like the right time to try his "Hearty Chick Pea Pasta Soup" and man, it was phenomenal. In fact, no only did I have a big bowl, but my carnivorous husband did as well. And he loved it. I'm not kidding, this soup is a like a red blood cell's dream; so much yummy iron-rich ingredients, all in a Vitamin-C absorption-heavy tomato-veggie broth. Best of all, it's just a chop-and-throw kind of recipe (my favorite) made in one big pot. If you like pasta e fagioli, you'll love this. And it's perfect for this chilly fall weather.
Hearty Chickpea Pasta Soup
by Matt Frazier, the No Meat Athlete
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup any tomato sauce*
6 cups vegetable stock**
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces, coarse stems removed (Dino
kale or lacinato works best)
4 ounces whole wheat linguine, broken into 1-2 inch pieces
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary and cook until the veggies are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and chick peas, and bring to a boil. Add the kale and after about 5 minutes, add the pasta and stir occasionally (this is assuming your pasta will take 7-8 minutes to cook). If you are using pasta that takes 12-15 minutes, add the pasta when you add the kale). When the pasta is al dente, remove the soup form the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with the remaining teaspoon of fresh rosemary. Enjoy!
Yields: about 6 servings
* - you can make your own tomato sauce (also featured in Matt's book). Simply blend a 28 oz jar of tomatoes in a food processor for a minute (leave some chunks if you'd like), and simmer over low heat with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 tsp sea salt for about 20 minutes. This made two cups, so I used the remaining sauce when we made homemade pizza on Monday night.
** - you can also make your own vegetable stock! I boiled 6 cups of water, then added 2 tablespoons of organic "Better than Bouillon" base until dissolved. This made a very salty broth (what I was looking for), so if you are looking to decrease sodium, only use one tablespoon.